From Brazil, Living in California
"The stranger who had the biggest impact on my life is called Sri Prem Baba. He is a yogi and spiritual master of Brazil, founder of the Global Awaken Love movement, whose goal is to guide human relations for peace and prosperity, as well as to develop actions to awaken a loving social conscience and put into practice such values as honesty, self-responsibility, gentleness, dedication, service and beauty. The pure and true awakening of love."
"I feel sooooo cheesy saying this, but I had a hard time thinking of anyone in my life, who I considered a stranger at one point. Being in the travel industry, you start to see many of the people you encounter as an ally. You become more open to those around you and making fast friends with folks you've just met. Especially when you travel solo. Travel invites you to be flexible and to interact with people you might not otherwise have met. It's one of my favorite parts of being in this business! That said, there is someone who was at one time, a stranger. She is someone who, to this day, I've still not met in person! That said, her impact has been profound. Her name is Kelley Louise and she is the Executive Director of the Impact Travel Alliance and founder of The Culture Collective. I met Kelley on Facebook about two years ago and I had just started my platform, Green Suitcase Travel. I was looking to connect with like-minded individuals in the travel space and randomly connected with her through an all-female travel group on Facebook. I had set out to make responsible/ sustainable travel more accessible for audiences and to showcase how meaningful it could be. Kelley made a comment on one of my posts and I instantly knew I wanted to connect with her. After some back and forth, she invited me to join a then young, ITA. I did and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! ITA is a collective of "changemakers, passionate about transforming the travel industry into a force for good." I worked with Kelley closely for about a year and learned so much about social impact travel and how to effectively spread the word. Since meeting Kelley and joining ITA, I have had more doors open for me than I could have ever imagined. I've been able to travel more, expand my business, and explore the issues I care about in a deeper way. Though I don't get to connect with her as often these days, I'm still constantly inspired by her work. I think of her as a mentor and she is someone I want to have in my corner for years to come."
"I think it would have to be my -now- best friend, Adarshya. She is so kind and she really cares about the planet. She taught me about many things like ways to save water and how to stay away from using plastic bags. She also taught me how to be confident and down-to-earth and so much more. We have been best friends for 9 years and we have managed to stick together through thick and thin and come a long way together. :)"